I have been granted a Marie Curie fellowship recently, and as some of you might know, one of the requirements is a PhD or 4 years of equivalent research experience (This question is related to that). Now, the contract issued from the host institution and the paperwork from the funding administrator set my role as Post-Doctoral Researcher.

Given that I don't have a PhD and applied based on the research experience item, I don't feel it is correct to have that title. Actually, I think this could be misleading and don't know how could this impact my career/reputation.

Should I ask to change this title? Does it matter in the end? or as long as I disclose I am "PostDoc researcher" because it was the title given for the role?

Here is another related question

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    The answer to this question depends on the regulations of the institution. At some institutions, you could ask for the title you want and they can just decide to give it to you. In other places, their hands will be tied because they must follow a collective bargaining agreement, law, or system policy. Read that policy to get the answer, or ask some administrators. Commented Feb 7, 2020 at 13:21
  • Heh heh. Maybe there's a precedent in legal terms. In Canada, if a couple lives together for a specified term, then they are deemed "equivalent to" married.
    – puppetsock
    Commented Feb 7, 2020 at 14:33
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    The institution probably knows what you are (as employed) better than SE. You have a Curie fellowship and is fine that you are a post doc researcher as you have a PhD or 4 y min of equivalent research. You are not entitled doctor but if someone think you are I don't see any problem, or at least it is her/his problem. Relax.
    – Alchimista
    Commented Feb 8, 2020 at 9:23

2 Answers 2


In my experience, "postdoc" isn't even treated as a title, and what your contract says is your job title is kind of irrelevant, because you can write it up however you want on your CV. My contract says I'm a "scientific researcher," but I have what is generally considered a postdoctoral position (because it's after the doctorate), and I alternate between both descriptions depending on the context. Outside of academia, no one really knows what "postdoc" or "scientific researcher" mean anyway, so I call myself a "mathematician"-- a title which isn't written on any official documentation anywhere. Furthermore, no one is going to address you by the title on your contract. No one has ever referred to me as "Postdoc Moonlet" or "Scientific Researcher Moonlet." The only title I use sometimes is "Dr." (which is ok, because I have the degree to back it up).

As long as you're not telling people to call you a doctor, I don't think there's anything to worry about.

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    "you can write it up however you want on your CV." Do not do that, it could be serious misconduct resulting in firing. Commented Feb 7, 2020 at 13:18
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    Oh come on, I wasn't being literal, and I definitely wasn't suggesting the OP make up arbitrary titles. If I literally transcribed every title on my CV, it would be an indiscernable hodge-podge of four different languages.
    – user108403
    Commented Feb 7, 2020 at 13:51
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    @AnonymousPhysicist The point is that 'postdoc' is not a title like doctor/phd or professor. Missusing the latter two can have legal consequences but if your hairdresser called himself a postdoc there wouldn't be any problem with it.
    – quarague
    Commented Feb 7, 2020 at 14:57
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    @quarague That might be true in your country but in some places you may call yourself whatever you want and the law will not care, but your employer can fire you no matter that the lie is. Commented Feb 7, 2020 at 16:14
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    @AnonymousPhysicist My employer knows that my contract calls me a "scientific researcher" but that I write "postdoctoral researcher" on my CV and doesn't give two flips. No one in my field cares about these fineries, especially since the precise job titles can't even be translated into English. If I wrote instead "God's greatest gift to mankind" or "neurological surgeon," we'd obviously have a problem.
    – user108403
    Commented Feb 7, 2020 at 16:30

You can ask, of course, but you need to be able to suggest an alternate title. To the institution it is the slot that has the title, actually. You just fill that slot. I doubt that you'd be very successful in getting a change. You are small and the institution is large - with a lot of inertia.

But, I wouldn't worry about it. It is a descriptive title for what you do: you research with the skills of someone with a doctorate. The institution considers you to have equivalent skills for the job. In fact EU seems to be of the same opinion, given the requirements.

But, in a CV or similar, make the distinction, that you held a title, but not a degree. In a few years, no one will care anymore.

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    The third option is to call the position a Marie Curie Fellowship, since that is well known and perfectly descriptive. Most future employers will not what it is.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Feb 7, 2020 at 13:03
  • @JonCuster, yes, I agree, but that isn't a title. And outside EU it is less well known. But the name of the fellowship is what goes into the CV.
    – Buffy
    Commented Feb 7, 2020 at 13:06
  • I think you mean "distinction" instead of "destination"? (Unless there's a deeper philosophical point here.)
    – user108403
    Commented Feb 7, 2020 at 13:14
  • @artificial_moonlet, yes, thanks. The auto corrector fails again.
    – Buffy
    Commented Feb 7, 2020 at 13:15
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    @Buffy It seems to me that "Marie Curie Fellow" would convert it to a job title fairly simply.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Feb 7, 2020 at 17:27

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